Tuesday, March 29, 2011

p.s.

In Lyn's big Lion dump earlier, she missed a few stone lions.  So, to complete the collection (for now), here are five more, all taken in Italy.

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I love this one!

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(Lyn is such a lucky duck.) 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Fabulous Forty--the entertainment

When last we heard the blow-by-blow description of my special day, we had left the Corry family at the table, eating ice cream and Costco cake, reveling in the richness of the calories.  

Shortly afterwards, we all washed dishes and cleaned up the kitchen, and I made everyone gather around the computer (which resides in the kitchen as well) so I could have them all watch one of my all-time favorite youtube clips, the one where random dads sing a song to remind their kids about daylight savings.   We all laughed, which was extra nice for me. 

Shortly after that, Marian and a few other nieces and nephews not-so-casually asked me what my favorite things were.  I replied that I liked to crochet and sing and ride elephants (having done that twice--once when I was seven years old at Hogle Zoo, and once a few years ago in Thailand), and as cheesy as it sounded, I especially liked being with my nieces and nephews.  They then ran downstairs, whispering all the way.

About twenty minutes later, Marian came back upstairs and asked us all to congregate in one room so that they could put on a special impromptu birthday performance.  We all agreed.  We were then treated to a skit entitled "These are A Few of Aunt Charlotte's Favorite Things".  It started out with Evan riding a Dallen-elephant, which then morphed into Kaylee crocheting a doll, which then went to Kaylee being Aunt Charlotte being mauled by exuberant nieces and nephews, which then morphed into all of them in a chorus line singing "Turn back your clocks, it's daylight savings".  I know this is going to be a shock to everyone who knows me, but I laughed until my sides ached.  So fun. 

After we were finished with that, Becca convinced those who had performed in the piano competition the previous day to play their pieces again for those of us who didn't attend.  That was doubly fun because the songs were peppy dancing songs, the pianists were good-natured about having children dance to their music, and the other children were primed to do a little dancing.  So, we had great music AND some fabulous choreography.

I took some video footage of the entertainment, but I don't feel good about posting it here for everyone to see.  Not that there's anything that is terribly private or anything, but for some reason, I feel weird about posting a video of people who aren't my kids, while I feel just fine about posting pictures.  So, here are some stills from the piano/dance recital. 

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MaKell exhibits her lineage by showing us all the Corry tongue (which actually might be a Willis trait, but it's kind of hard to tell for sure.)



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This was the "Walk like an Egyptian" song.

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Check out Marian's cat-eyes.  Love them!


Anyway, the whole reason I told you about the videos is to tell you that if you have access to the private Heather blog, feel free to head over there for six videos that will surely only be interesting to you if you love these kids the way I do.

And there we are.  Three birthday posts down--only one to go.  Aren't you glad you read all the way to the end of this one?


Friday, March 25, 2011

see how I am?

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LAST NIGHT, 9:45 p.m. 


SCENE:  THE LIVING ROOM

Charlotte and Eric are kneeling by the couch, getting ready for their evening prayer.  (This generally doesn't happen until at least 10 or 10:30 p.m., but Charlotte has her early-morning-work-out-of-death-class on Friday mornings, so she goes to bed a little earlier than normal on Thursday night.)

CHARLOTTE (snuggling up to Eric endearingly):  You know, I hear it's supposed to be nice this weekend.  Maybe you'll be able to get the shed door fixed, huh?

ERIC (confused):  What?  It's not supposed to be nice this weekend, it's supposed to snow!  Actually, they say it will probably be bad weather for all of next week!

CHARLOTTE (a little deflated):  Oh.  Well, I didn't really even check to see how it would be this weekend.  I just said that so I could talk about the shed.

Eric sighs.

END SCENE

(In case you were wondering, once I learned about the weather report, I withdrew my request/demand that Eric fix the shed this weekend.  I know, amazingly magnanimous of me.)







Shed image courtesy of ollielowe

Thursday, March 24, 2011

thank you bollywood

I've been re-organizing our CD collection.  Now, I realize that in an age of pandora and playlist and youtube and and i-pods and i-touches, and i-phones and i-whatever-the-next-big-apple-thing-is's, CD's are getting to be a thing of the past.  But, I'm not ready to let go yet.  Call me an old fogie if you want (I am 40 now, you know), but I'm just not ready to say goodbye to those beautiful shiny silvery spinning disks of musical delight.


However, the CD collection has been getting a little unweildy, so I bought some CD boxes at Ikea the last time I was there, and this months project has been getting the CDs into the boxes, where they look like white boxes of organized joy, rather than sprawling piles and towers and stacks of plastic cases of clutter.

One morning, in the midst of all the organizing, I happened to find my Bend it Like Beckam Movie Soundtrack.  It's one of my very favorites, and I hadn't been able to find it the last time I wanted to have a little listen.  You can imagine my joy at this happy discovery!

Such an auspicious occasion required a celebration, so Heather and I ceased from our CD-organizing task and moved to the bathroom, where we did some scrubbing and playing and primping, all the while accompanied by the peppy-est of peppy tunes.

It was heaven.

Wanna see?

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The make-up brush makes a mighty fine microphone, in case you didn't know.

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It also works magnificently if your cabinets need a little painting or dusting.

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My favorite of the day by far.  Never underestimate the magical power of peppy tunes.









Sunday, March 20, 2011

Fabulous Forty--the long awaited cake

Remember how I had wanted to try a Costco Cake, but we don't have a Costco where I live, but my mom has a Costco close(ish) to where she lives and a Costco membership, and I was going to be down that way for my birthday?

If that's not serendipity, I don't know what is.  

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Can you see the "40"?  We tend to get a little creative in my family.  That's 'cause we're lazy about buying candles.


We had a delicious birthday dinner of Hawaiian Haystacks (at my request) with a green salad that had strawberries in it (not my request, but a really great addition), followed by singing followed by cake and ice cream. 

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Poor dad.  For old times' sake, I asked/demanded of him to serve the ice cream.  He doesn't look very excited about it, but that's because he has ice-cream-serving baggage left over from the years of my childhood.  I've actually already written about it, but if you can't remember, you can read about it here  (skip to the italicized part at the end).



ShaLiece taught Heather and Ty the finer points of removing birthday candles, (including the joyous fringe benefit of removing leftover frosting)
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A few notes about the cake:

My birthday fell on a Sunday.  So, the cake needed to be purchased on Saturday.  However, we thought we were going to have a busy day on Saturday, attending a piano competition in which my nieces and nephew were participating (as it turned out, Becca and I skipped out on the competition, but we didn't know that we would be doing that at the time that all these decisions were made.) , so it was determined that my mom would pick up a cake at the Costco in the Salt Lake area, since she would be driving home on Friday  from some legislative meetings there.  When she asked me if this would be okay, (Remember how I said that I was spoiled?  Proof.  Who gets to dictate when their birthday cake is picked up and where it comes from at age 40?  Someone who is spoiled.) I said that would be fine, but I wanted to be able to taste it Friday night, just because I didn't want my first taste of the beloved Costco cake to be tainted by the fact that it was two days old. Mom was okay with that, so a few of us had a sample Friday night.  It was delicious, but tasted pretty much the same two days later, in case you were wondering.

Well, at some point, my mom got thinking about it all, and realized that in order for her to get the cake on Friday, she'd have to get up in the morning (which usually happens around 5:30 or 6:00), and sit around for a couple of hours, waiting for Costco to open before she could get on the road to Cedar City.  Not wanting to do that, she got up, got ready and hit the road at the crack of dawn, drove through Cedar City, and got to the St. George Costco around 10:00 a.m., picked up the cake, and drove back to Cedar City.

I've got to give props to my mom here.  As a girl who knows the pain and boredom of the really long road trip through the sagebrush land that is central and southern Utah, it's meaningful to me that my mother would add two extra hours onto an already long drive, just to indulge me in my desire to have a particular cake.  My mother is one in a million. Seriously. 

Having said that, I have to razz her a little bit.  When she showed me the cake(s), I asked her first why there were two, and why one of them was a white cake.  (What is the point of a white cake?  Really?  My opinion is that if it's not chocolate (or key lime or creme brulee), it's probably not worth the calories.)  She assured me that there were many people in the family who preferred white cake to chocolate, and she wanted to be fair to them.  I said fine, but that those white-cake lovers better not be planning to eat any of my chocolate delight.


Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you 

Exhibit A
(taken immediately post meal):
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Uh-huh.  

Apparently the many people in the family who preferred white cake weren't all that hungry, huh? 

To be fair, when we had seconds, (four hours later), most of the kids wanted white cake, so by the end of the evening, the cakes were more evenly gone.

And with that, I'm starting to bore even myself with all this cake talk (and I'm starting to get hungry, and I have a goal not to eat after 8:00 p.m. and it's 8:43 right now), so I think I'll close.  Tune in shortly for the after-dinner-impromptu-birthday-talent-show post, and of course the post that shows all the loot.  I think at that point I will have thoroughly exhausted this topic, and you won't have to read about my birthday extravaganzas again for at least a couple of years.





Friday, March 18, 2011

Fabulous Forty--the beginning hours . . .

So, I turned forty last week.  It was fabulous. 


Heather and I were in Cedar City (sans Eric) for a few days, and looking back, I think we can safely say that I was totally spoiled.  Awesome.

These next few posts are going to have some pictures of some of my favorite moments of the auspicious occasion.  After all, I'm only going to turn 40 once.  If it's too boring for you (and it would probably be too boring for me, truth be told), feel free to skip or skim for the next little while.

Now, onto the day!

It all started out with Robert (my brother) and Ty (his son) dropping by with some fresh baked orange sweet rolls on a fancy schmancy golden platter.  The rolls were absolutely delicious.  It's a little known fact that Robert is one of the best cooks in my family.  Actually, I would probably consider him the best cook in the family, if I didn't think it might get me into trouble with a few other cooks in the family.

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We devoured them.

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Saving Paper

I'm trying a new thing.  We'll see how it works.  See, it seems that I keep finding great tips on-line for how to do things.  New recipes, patterns, tutorials, you get the idea.  The best ones, I print out, and file them away in a binder, most likely never to be seen again.  This wastes resources AND adds yet another binder full of stuff to my collection, thus providing another adversary in my war against the clutter of my home.


(And yes, it is a war.  If you lived with Eric Cantwell, and were a reformed pack-rat yourself, you would consider it a war as well.)

So, for a little while, I'm going to try posting links to my favorite helps here on the blog from time to time.  That way I can find them from anywhere, and they aren't taking up any space in my home at all.  Of course, there's always the chance that if I do want to use the tips at some point, the link won't work anymore.  That's a risk I'm willing to take.   After all, any war sustains casualties.  Why should my confrontation with clutter be any different?

So, without any more explanation (because if I feel like I need to write an explanation every time I do this, it's going to take more time, and that will be frustrating to me, so that I might end up deciding not to do this at all, which will put me right back where I started), here's a collection of what I've found lately:

Growth Chart at RACKS and Mooby:























Cheap Wall Art from My Pretties






















Homemade (with only 3 ingredients!) Three Musketeers Bars from Monster Mama






















Rainbow Cupcakes from Family Fun



















Fingerless Gloves from Pondered In My Heart













(this one I actually did print out and put with my crochet patterns.  But, it never hurts to have a back-up!)


























Garden Planter Boxes from Thrify 101





















Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe from Reenie Jae Creations
(I'm always on the lookout for a good Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe, and this girl says these are the best.  Time will tell.)























Clothing Labels from Running with Scissors


















Sunday, March 13, 2011

On Making Comparisons and Slowing Down

A few weeks ago, (On February 20, 2011 to be precise), I wrote this, among other things, about a little challenge that has arisen between Heather Albee-Scott and I:

Anyway, oddly enough, by the end of the Facebook discussion, Heather (perhaps to her dismay) had agreed to read The Book of Mormon, and I had agreed to read The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching.  I've ordered it, and should probably be starting it sometime next week.  If any of you are hankering to get better acquainted with either book/school of thought/religion, please feel free to join us in our quest.  I'm planning to write some of what I learn/experience as I read on the blog, and knowing Heather, I think she'll probably do the same.  (You can read what she's already written about our little agreement here.)

So, I've been reading The Heart of Buddha's Teaching  for a few weeks now. I read for a few minutes before I go to bed at night, and so I'm not exactly speeding through the book.  However doing it this way gives me something to think about before I go to sleep, and it's a nice way to finish out the day.  I just finished Chapter 7, and I'm on page 40.  There are 269 pages in the book, 28 chapters plus 3 additional discourses.  So, I've barely scratched the surface at this point.  I'm okay with that.

Anyway, here are some of my thoughts on what I've read so far:

Towards the beginning of the book, Thich Nhat Hanh (the Vietmanese Buddhist monk who wrote it)  states something that I've been trying to keep in mind throughout my reading.  He says, (at the beginning of Chapter 4, on page 12)

"When we hear a Dharma talk or study a sutra, our only job is to remain open.  Usually when we hear or read something new, we just compare it to our own ideas.  If it is the same, we accept it and say that it is correct.  If it is not, we say it is incorrect.  In either case, we learn nothing.  If we read or listen with an open mind and an open heart, the rain of the Dharma will penetrate the soil of our consciousness.  . . . While reading, or listening, don't work too hard.  Be like the earth.  When the rain comes, the earth only has to open herself up to the rain. " (emphasis added by me, Charlotte)

So, as I've been reading, I've been gently trying to remember to just read and just listen.  I've been trying to avoid looking for comparisons, making judgments, or decisions.  However, I've also been hearkening back to some of my old yoga training, which is, when I find myself making comparisons, judgments, or decisions (as I inevitably do), I just gently remind myself that I've gotten a little off track and try to do better, rather than feeling guilty or as if I've failed.  So far so good. 

That said, as I was reading Chapter Six, titled Stopping, Calming, Resting, Healing, I was absolutely reminded of a talk that was given in LDS General Conference last fall by President Uchtdorf.  You can read the entire talk here, but basically, what I got from the talk was that some of us (like me) would do well to settle down, stop running around so much, and when we find ourselves dealing with turbulence or times of extra growth, go a little slower, so we can endure it a little better.  I remember after listening to that talk, I felt in my heart that there were some things in my life, good things, that were taking time and energy away from better things.  That week, I closed up shop on my voice teaching studio (it wasn't as painful as it could have been, I only had 4 students at the time).  Since then, I've had two opportunities to start teaching again, and while I mostly enjoy teaching, and I certainly enjoy the extra money it brings, I've had a relatively easy time saying "not right now" to those opportunities, having already made that decision, and (more importantly) tasted the (delicious) fruits of that decision. 

This post is getting kind of long, so to close, I'll just write two quotes, one from the Buddhism book, and one from President Uchtdorf's talk.  I recognize that in posting these quotes right next to each other, I'm basically going against my original premise of this post, which is that Thich Nhat Hanh counsels me not to compare what I'm learning (Buddhism) with what I already know (Mormonism).  I'm okay with that though, because as I was reading the Buddhism Book, I wasn't actively looking for comparisons to LDS doctrine.  In this case, the similarities came to mind without me actually searching for them, which I feel is in keeping with the spirit of Thich Nhat Hanh's counsel.

Anyway, here are the quotes:

Thich Nhat Hanh:
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There is a story in Zen circles about a man and a horse.  The horse is galloping quickly, and it appears that the man on the horse is going somewhere important.  Another man, standing alongside the road, shouts, "Where are you going?"  and the first man replies, "I don't know!  Ask the horse!"  This is also our story.  We are riding a horse, we don't know where we are going, and we can't stop.  The horse is our habit energy pulling us along and we are powerless.  We are always running, and it has become a habit.  . . . we have to learn the art of stopping--stopping our thinking, our habit energies, our forgetfulness, the strong emotions that rule us. . . How can we stop? . . . We can stop by practicing mindful breathing, mindful waking, mindful smiling (Charlotte here-that one is my personal favorite), and deep looking in order to understand.  When we are mindful, touching deeply the present moment, the fruits are always understanding acceptance, love, and the desire to relieve suffering and bring joy. 


Dieter F. Uchtdorf:
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Let’s be honest; it’s rather easy to be busy. We all can think up a list of tasks that will overwhelm our schedules. Some might even think that their self-worth depends on the length of their to-do list. They flood the open spaces in their time with lists of meetings and minutia—even during times of stress and fatigue. Because they unnecessarily complicate their lives, they often feel increased frustration, diminished joy, and too little sense of meaning in their lives.


Here's to getting off that horse!






Thich Nhat Hanh image courtesy of redwylie
Dieter f Uchtdorf image courtesy of The Deseret News

Thursday, March 10, 2011

a little lion love letter from Lyn

Facebook Conversation Posted on Charlotte's wall, March 1, 2011

Um...what if I have a ridiculous amount of lion pictures? (And you know that is a lot if I of all people who has an extreme love of stone lions....believe it to be ridiculous!)
Charlotte Corry Cantwell I'll take 'em all! Or-as many as you can trouble yourself to send to me. I'm getting better and better at photo collages.
 

Much to my joy, Lyn took me at my word.

Behold!

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Photos (66 of them) taken in Barcelona, Genoa, Palermo, Rome, Sardinia, the Vatican, and Venice.

Awesome.

(As to the photo collage, if I had it to do over again, I'd use a grey background on all of them, and string them together so they looked like one giant-ly long collage.  Next time.)






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